Weather in the Foothills

“Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit
 And watch the leaves turn.”
~ Elizabeth Lawrence, 1930s writer

Thanksgiving is over. Our home was aglow with candles and autumn leaves on the mantle and a fire crackling beneath. Aromas of homemade rosemary rolls and turkey filled the air. Complete with family and friends, we had a lot to be thankful for. The cool weather even added a nice touch to the day, with below average autumn temperatures. Gentle breezes helped the trees drop their leaves. Some may rake their lawns; I prefer to leave the season’s offerings in place.

A few years ago (OK, maybe 40), Christmas decorations were not displayed until a week or maybe two before Dec. 25. Now, the day after Thanksgiving the rush is on! Not wanting to participate or shop “Black Friday” deals, we headed up the coast to visit my sister and her family. In my avoidance of rushing into the next season, the opposite seemed to happen. As we drove north on Highway 1 between here and Pismo Beach, we seemed to land right back in the middle of summer with surfer’s calendars stuck in August.

Boards were visible atop vehicles with many out trying “to catch a wave.”  Interesting contrast – in just 24 hours, the spoken words changed from “Bless this food” to “Surf’s up!” So goes the weather and seasons of Southern California – almost winter, but feels and looks like summer.

Several times a day, I check on the ever-changing weather data coming in from the National Weather Service (NWS). Complicated, no doubt, but a fascinating obsession as I attempt to assess the information. But in doing so, I may have discovered the underlying cause for the uncertainty we have with the appropriate time to decorate for the holidays. There is an actual name for it, a rather new one I believe, “Christmas Weather Confusion.”

Here’s the deal: We live in Southern California, not on the East Coast or Midwest. After Thanksgiving, it is not unusual to have temperatures in the 80s and within just a few days have snow in the local mountains. So as the Christmas lights are strung on your house, in addition to the many extension cords, will you need to apply sunscreen or put up an umbrella? No wonder we can feel little confused.

Perhaps when to decorate is a personal choice. We really aren’t confused after all. Thank goodness!

After solving that dilemma, an Urgent Weather Message has been posted by the NWS – 9 a.m. Wednesday: Very strong Santa Ana event expected tonight into Friday.

As you pick up your CV Weekly, evidence of this information may hit you as cold wind gusts of 80 mph or greater blast through local canyons and passes. By Saturday and the Christmas parade, winds should calm, but lows near 40 and highs around 60 will continue into next week.

Bundle up and enjoy the parade. And Santa: “Hold onto your hat!”